Mum­bai chokes with pol­lu­tion lev­els on rise

NO RESPITE Ex­pect ‘very poor’ air qual­ity to­day too; CM or­ders probe into Deonar fire

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NEWS - Badri Chat­ter­jee badri.chat­ter­jee@hin­dus­tan­times.com

MUM­BAI: Air pol­lu­tion in the city con­tin­ued to choke Mum­bai­ites, with the air qual­ity in­dex (AQI) fall­ing in the ‘very poor’ cat­e­gory for the se­cond con­sec­u­tive day on Satur­day. While weather con­di­tions were the pri­mary rea­son for heavy smog across the city, the smoke emit­ting from the fire at the Deonar dump­ing yard made mat­ters worse, es­pe­cially in the east­ern sub­urbs.

The AQI — pol­lu­tion mea­sur­ing in­di­ca­tor — was at 318 dur­ing the day and 306 in the evening. An AQI of 300 and above falls un­der the ‘very poor’ cat­e­gory. On Fri­day, Mum­bai had recorded the high­est pol­lu­tion lev­els — AQI of 325 dur­ing the day and 341 in the evening — since the Sys­tem of Air Qual­ity Weather Fore­cast­ing and Re­search (SAFAR) be­gan mon­i­tor­ing air qual­ity in June last year.

SAFAR, which mea­sures pol­lu­tion lev­els at 10 lo­ca­tions across the city, pre­dicted ‘very poor’ air qual­ity lev­els for Sun­day, too, with an AQI of 311.

Mean­while, even as the Mum­bai fire brigade tried to con­trol the fire at Deonar dump­ing ground, CM Deven­dra Fad­navis asked the Mum­bai po­lice com­mis­sioner to probe the pos­si­bil­ity of sab­o­tage. The civic body has filed an FIR against the con­trac­tor re­spon­si­ble for dis­posal of waste at the dump­ing ground. “BMC Com­mis­sioner in­forms that smoke at Deonar is sub­stan­tially un­der con­trol. I’ve asked CP, Mum­bai to en­quire into pos­si­bil­ity of sab­o­tage,” Fad­navis tweeted on Satur­day evening.

The fire at the dump­ing ground has led to an in­crease in pol­lu­tion lev­els in ar­eas such as Go­vandi, Shivaji Na­gar, Chem­bur, Tilak Na­gar, Ghatkopar, and Kurla, among oth­ers. Sev­eral peo­ple liv­ing in th­ese ar­eas have com­plained of breath­ing prob­lems and res­pi­ra­tory ail­ments be­cause of the smoke. Even schools in the vicin­ity of the dump­ing ground stayed shut on Satur­day.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials from SAFAR, the ‘ very poor’ air qual­ity lev­els on Satur­day were ma­jorly ow­ing to the fire at Deonar. “We ob­served that all lo­ca­tions around the land­fill recorded high pol­lu­tion lev­els, but all other lo­ca­tions in the city ob­served an im­proved air qual­ity than Fri­day,” said Neha S Parkhi, se­nior pro­gramme man­ager, SAFAR.

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